Brain Health and the potential role of ketones

24 Jan 2023

Content courtesy: tectonlifecom


When we undertake a keto diet consisting of high fat and approximately 30 grams of net carbs per day, our livers produce ketone bodies. Tecton contains 10 grams of ketones identical to these.

Scientific studies have shown that ketones, whether produced in the body during prolonged fasting (endogenous ketones) or taken as a dietary supplement (exogenous ketones), can improve brain function.
They can also help protect the brain from harm, whether that harm arises from an injury (such as a concussion) or a disease. This is termed a “neuroprotective effect.” In this article, we provide some of the evidence that supports the use of ketones to improve brain function. While endogenous ketones can be helpful in this regard, it can be very difficult to maintain prolonged fasting and/or a strict low-carbohydrate diet required for your body to produce endogenous ketones. Exogenous ketones on the other hand, can have similar beneficial effects and can be consumed as a dietary supplement. In fact, exogenous ketones can prove very helpful in certain conditions and are viewed as a promising therapeutic strategy to meet the needs of the brain during an energy crisis (Poff et al., 2021). They can also be used as a nutritional tool to provide a quick energy boost and allow for the elongation of a fasting period. When consuming dietary ketones, the use of ketone esters results in a much more rapid and robust elevation in blood ketone levels as compared to ketone salts (Stubbs et al., 2017). Moreover, because sticking to a ketogenic diet may be difficult for many people, the use of exogenous ketones may be more practical—as highlighted in a recent systematic review on the topic (Dewsbury et al., 2021).

Our bodies were designed with the magnificent ability to create ketones in times of need. Simply put, ketones are an alternative energy source produced and/or used by the body when glucose (carbohydrate) stores are low.


The human brain is a highly complex and amazing organ, controlling all aspects of our lives including breathing, thoughts, memory, decision making, and movement. Those who suffer with any form of brain dysfunction know how devastating this can be. This reality and the quest for a return to normal brain function has prompted continued investigation into treatment options for those with such impairments.

Treatments include both pharmacologic and lifestyle approaches. Related to the latter, most individuals accept the well-documented fact that structured exercise can enhance cognitive performance, as can the intake of a nutrient dense diet—with efficacy noted for a variety of different dietary protocols.

Ketones serve as a unique energy source, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier

In addition, select dietary supplements have been shown to help with aspects of brain health—with recent emphasis placed on “nootropics” or those supplements touted to improve cognition, memory, concentration, and related variables.
One target ingredient that continues to receive attention is ketones (Kovacs et al., 2021). These functional groups serve as a unique energy source, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, typically produced in the liver from fatty acids (what is referred to as endogenous ketone production) but also available as a dietary supplement (what is referred to as exogenous ketones).
This article will discuss the importance of brain health, while sharing information specific to ketones and how this unique energy source may prove helpful in situations when the brain is compromised.

An Overview of Brain Health

The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system and are often referred to as the body’s control center or “central command.” The brain is responsible for maintaining life and all aspects of function. This includes but is not limited to memory, focus, concentration, reaction time, and balance—variables that are of great importance to overall cognitive and physical performance.
If the goal is to improve the above, there are many lifestyle factors that should be considered. These include structured exercise and physical activity; maintenance of a healthy weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose; adequate nightly sleep; remaining cognitively engaged (e.g., continuing to learn and be challenged mentally); smoking cessation, and consumption of alcohol in moderation (or not at all). These items should be thought of as the “first-line” defense in supporting optimal brain health. Beyond these, you might consider select dietary supplements, with exogenous ketones being one which is well-supported by the scientific literature.

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An Overview of Ketones and their Delivery to the Brain

Our bodies were designed with the magnificent ability to create ketones in times of need. Simply put, ketones are an alternative energy source produced and/or used by the body when glucose (carbohydrate) stores are low. The “ketogenic diet” or “keto” has gained much popularity in recent years for those seeking weight/fat loss. This is because when carbohydrate is severely restricted (usually to less than 30 grams/day; the equivalent of one piece of fruit or one slice of bread), blood glucose and insulin levels remain low.
Stored fats are then broken down and the fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and transported to the liver to be converted into ketones. This breakdown of stored fat should theoretically lead to an overall loss in body fat/weight, which is the goal of many. Once produced, the ketones can be released from the liver and travel in the bloodstream to various tissues to be used as a fuel source. One such tissue is the brain, which can readily use ketones, as they are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. And if carbohydrate sources are very low, ketones are the prime option to fuel the energy-hungry brain. Note: lactate can also be used as an energy source; and the liver can convert glycerol and certain amino acids into energy, through a process known as gluconeogenesis.

While ketone production is revved up during periods of severe carbohydrate restriction or fasting, usually for a period of at least 48 hours, some ketone production is observed after shorter periods of similar dietary manipulation. For example, those adhering to an intermittent fasting regimen using a standard 8 hours on:16 hour off cycle will likely experience some level of additional ketone production during the 16-hour fasting period. Blood ketone levels should be further elevated with the use of exogenous ketones, which may provide additional energy. This may also prove important in allowing for an extension of the fasting period, which may in turn further produce endogenous ketones and result in greater fat loss over time. In this way, ketone supplements can serve as a “nutritional tool” to help elongate a fast, possibly leading to greater benefits from nutrient restriction.

How Ketones can Impact the Brain

Although many people adopt a ketogenic diet for purposes of weight/fat loss and improved aesthetics, a more important finding relates to the role of ketones to aid various aspects of brain health.

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Ketones and Concussion

Concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and represents a significant health crisis. In most individuals, symptoms resolve within one month but those with post-concussion syndrome (PCS) may continue to experience symptoms for many months or years, with few treatment options available.

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Ketones and Cognition

Aside from the clinical conditions presented below, individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or those who may be otherwise healthy but who seek superior cognitive performance may also benefit from ketones.

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Ketones and Alzheimer’s Disease

In the United States, as many as 6.5 million individuals age 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s Disease, with a significant number of annual fatalities (sixth leading cause of death in the country).

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Tecton Science

Ketones in Tecton: Safe and Effective

Tecton is the world’s first and only ready-to-drink beverage that contains 10g of nature-identical ketones that doesn’t contain 1,3 butanediol (a secondary alcohol or ethanol dimer). Tecton is safe at any dose and for all age groups based on a study published in Nutrient magazine, according to FDA guidelines. The study noted no adverse effects, even at extremely high doses (200 times by body weight).

We also tested the absorption rate to determine how quickly Tecton ketones will get into the bloodstream after drinking a can of our product. So, with analyses by Mayo Clinic, a pharmacokinetics (PK) study showed that Tecton’s ketone ester has a rapid absorption rate, reaching a maximum concentration in just 30 minutes, putting the user into mild ketosis in minutes. This usually requires two days of starving or up to 2-3 weeks of strict adherence to a keto diet! Because Tecton has zero sugar and zero caffeine, it is a simple and safe alternative, or accompaniment, to fasting or a restrictive ketogenic diet.

*The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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